Senior House Officer

A senior house officer (SHO) is another type of non-consultant hospital doctor. SHOs are supervised in their work by consultants and registrars. SHOs in Ireland can be employed either in training posts or standalone posts. NCHDs who are not enrolled on a recognised postgraduate training scheme in Ireland are employed in standalone posts or non-training posts.


SHOs in Ireland can either be employed in Training Posts or Non-Training Posts.

Trainee Posts

Initial Specialist Training (IST) is the first stage in specialisation for Doctors training in Ireland. IST describes the initial years of “streamlined training” and Basic Specialist Training (BST) training years. IST is a hospital-based training programme completed in Senior House Officer Posts. It prepares you for Higher Specialist Training, which is the final stage of training. In addition to supervised clinical training in the hospital, you will need to complete exams and courses designed to help you to develop professionally and acquire the skills and knowledge needed to provide excellent patient care.


The duration of IST is two or three years in most specialties; Psychiatry has a four year IST training programme. Whilst trainees are engaged in IST, they are normally employed at Senior House Officer (SHO) level (though a number may be employed at Registrar level during the latter stages of IST i.e. years 3 or 4.) These posts are supervised by the Post Graduate Medical Training Bodies (PGMTBs) and accredited by the Medical Council of Ireland.


Recruitment to IST posts is organised by the relevant PGMTBs and usually opens in the autumn annually and the majority of IST/BST schemes close in October/November. Available training places are agreed between the PGMTB and the HSE.

SHOs in training are supervised in their work by consultants and registrars. These registrars and consultants oversee training and are usually their designated clinical supervisors. Candidates complete a 2 to 4 year programme at Senior House Officer (SHO) or Registrar level, involving rotations across clinical sites every 3 to 12 months. Training posts are fully salaried posts.

Non Trainee Posts

Non-training or standalone posts do not contribute to IST but allow Doctors to gain further real world experience and improve their competitiveness in applying to training schemes. SHOs in non-training posts are supervised in their work by consultants and registrars, and their duties match those of SHOs on training scheme posts. Standalone posts appeal to SHOs at this stage; as they can choose exactly which post and site to apply to, and can use the time out of scheme to pursue further qualifications and examinations. Standalone SHO posts are recruited locally by the employing clinical site. These are advertised either on or on the Hospitals own website, and may be advertised in three-month, six-month or year-long blocks.

Learn more about applying for standalone SHO posts:

After Senior House Officer